My Biggest Takeaway from Creative South 2017

Coming home with inspiration to build momentum.

A week ago, Creative South 2017 had just wrapped up and this past week a lot of people have been writing about what they learned from the conference.

I’m not going to lie. That conference is so inspiring, you just can’t help but share what you learned. Whether from a talk you heard, a workshop you attended, or just something that came out of one of your many conversations over a drink, there’s a lot to digest. And continue to do so once you get home.

As I was planning out my own summary of the conference, I realized my biggest takeaway wasn’t specific to one experience while I was there. Instead, it was something that I had been trying to figure out before I went to Creative South and eventually found clarity as I listened to talks and discussed design with others.

”So, Scott,” you’re wondering, “What is the main takeaway that you got out of your experience after spending thousands of dollars to attend a conference across the country?”

Don’t cripple your momentum by focusing on ways to one-up yourself

About a week before Creative South, I had been trying to decide on what my next Iconoflage project should be. After my Nike Air Force 1’s, then the Optimist Skate Deck for Eric Friedensohn, I was trying to think what project would be the next step up. I wanted to go huge and even more amazing then the last two projects. But what I hadn’t thought about was the fact that I was wasting so much time trying to think of ways to one-up myself, I was quickly losing momentum.

Days were going by when I could have at least picked up a pen and started Iconoflaging an entire sketchbook (now one of my next projects). I could have been Iconoflaging famous logos on my iPad just to get used to the weird sensation of drawing digitally. I should have been spending more time with my pen on paper than sitting there trying to think of the next best thing.

Not every project is going to be better than your last, but as long as you’re working on one, your bettering yourself.

Alight, I’ll break it down a little bit.

You can’t just wait for inspiration to hit, you need to be moving

Momentum. You know, the word we used to describe our energy moving forward? Maybe you didn’t take physics in high school like I did, so here’s a quick summary:

Momentum = Mass • Velocity

Let’s say Mass = (your idea for a project + inspiration) and Velocity = how active you are working on a project.

So, if you are really inspired and you are actively working on your project, obviously you’re going to have a lot of momentum to finish your project.

Now if your velocity is 0, your momentum will also be 0 (0 times anything equals 0). Think about that. If you aren’t moving, you have no momentum to get that project completed. You are dead in the water.

For you to build momentum to solve your problem, you need to gain velocity (a step forward). You can’t wait around or something to inspire you. You just have to move. Once you’re in motion, you can aim your momentum in the right direction. This is much easier than starting at 0.

Build momentum to find the next big project

As I stated above, my “project” I’ve been trying to find momentum and inspiration for is Iconoflage. I’ve been sitting around trying to think of the next thing to do. I was shutting down every idea if I didn’t think it would produce as big of a “Wow” factor as the last project.

But once I realized that not every project is going to be better than the last, once I realized that I can’t just wait for inspiration to hit me to find momentum, I understood that I just had to start moving. And that, my friend, is what I’m doing.

I can’t allow myself to be afraid of the project coming out like shit. As long as I show up everyday and work on a project, I am bettering myself and my work. That’s where I will find the momentum for the next biggest thing. Maybe that’s a mural. Maybe it’s a pair of headphones. I don’t know. But what I do know is that I’ll have the velocity I need. All I have to do is shift my weight into the corner, and my inspiration will guide me though.

Thanks, Creative South 2017

Like I said, my main takeaway from Creative South 2017 wasn’t something that came from just one talk, one discussion, or a workshop. It was something that had been simmering in the back of my head for a while, but finally came to fruition when I was listening to and talking with other creatives in person. I can’t tell you how amazing my experience was to finally meet my online friends in real-life and get pictures with some of my design heroes. It was unreal.

If I wouldn’t have gone to that conference in Columbus, Georgia, I would still be sitting here trying to think up the next big Iconoflage project instead of working on one. I can only give that credit to being around so many inspiring people at the conference.

Creative South 2017 was such an amazing experience full of inspiration and clarity, that I already bought my ticket for next year. If I already got inspired to not be afraid to create my Iconoflage projects even if they aren’t as good as my last, then when what’s the next mind-altering thing I’m going to learn a year from now?

Want to know more of the details about Creative South or building momentum? Shoot me a message below.

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